Introduction: $.05 Toy Hovercraft / Helicopter

This instructable will show you how to make a simple toy hovercraft for small children. It is suitable for daycare projects, science projects (aerodynamics and gyroscopes) as well as general fun. This is a project can be built by small children since it requires no cutting.

Step 1: What You Will Need.

2 - Styrofoam cups of the same size (8 oz or 16 oz)
8" or 21cm - Masking tape
4 - Medium rubber bands

Step 2: If You Build It ... It Will Fly ...

Take the length of tape and tape the bottom of the cups together. Now loop the rubber bands together drawing the knot closed firmly. Repeat with each rubber band until they form a chain.

Step 3: Here's the Wind-up, and the Pitch!

Wind the bands around the middle of the cup using medium tightness. Winding it too tight will cause the cups to collapse. I recommend winding over the cups and coming out underneath. This method gives me a better launch, but feel free to experiment.

Step 4: Have Fun!

When you are ready to launch, hold the cups between your thumb and index finger with the first digit of your finger inside the loop of the bands.
Next release your thumb and pull your hand away like you would a top. It will hover for a few seconds and slowly descend to the ground.
Timing of the release and pull is important for a good flight. If the first couple of flights don't do so well, keep practicing. You will get the hang of it in no time at all.
This toy can be played with indoors as well as outside. The picture below was of one launched out of a 2nd floor window. Enjoy!

Comments

author
dorkpunch made it!(author)2012-01-30
Sweet!  Built one and tried it out with my kids, they didnt quite get it but loved watching it "hover".  Had my 8 yr old shoot a video of me flying it for you- pretty poor quality but you get the idea. 

author
Hoopajoo made it!(author)2012-01-30

AWESOME!!! Hope your kids and you have fun playing with it!

author
scribble+hero made it!(author)2014-07-31

thats pretty cool and btw your son is a better filmer than most 8 year olds

author
hoohooco made it!(author)2013-05-30

wow! it works?

author
TN777 made it!(author)2013-01-17

I am SOOOO going to use this when I babysit....

author
laser-show-15 made it!(author)2013-01-01

In the first picture I thought you magically made it stay on the wall

author
Encik_Google made it!(author)2012-10-11

interesting and cheap!!

author
Plo+Koon made it!(author)2012-03-15

i'll try to make it!

author
cool+knex13 made it!(author)2012-02-29

sweet!

author
dorkpunch made it!(author)2012-01-31

Okay... So I got to "experimenting" with this and was just going to post some things here, but I got a little out of hand. I ended up building a bigger version of this that was a little different, so I made my own instructable referencing this one. I also dug up some more info on the Magnus Effect. You can see it here: The 50 CENT Hovercraft  

author
kelseymh made it!(author)2012-01-30

This is a great, and deceptively simple, project! If you're still around five years after posting it, it would be really awesome if you could add a step (or even just a paragraph in the intro) on the aerodynamics behind it.

As someone else posted, it's clearly driven by the Magnus effect, but I think having a description in the content itself would be beneficial, especially for people wanting to implement it in a classroom environment.

author
Goodhart made it!(author)2012-01-30
author
pgrassia made it!(author)2012-01-30

Very nice and simple. If I'm not mistaken this uses the magnus effect to get some lift, hence the need for lightweight material. As well a textured surface is needed (like the surface of your golf/tennis ball)

author
jbrecken made it!(author)2012-01-30

Could this toy be called a kind of diabolo?

author
jabujavi made it!(author)2012-01-30

Please put a video!

author
Starsghost made it!(author)2011-08-07

wait, i just read the whole thing

author
Starsghost made it!(author)2011-08-07

HOW DO YOU LAUNCH IT?

author
nathanzhang made it!(author)2008-08-10

Kids, this is definitely more productive than HACKING. Please do this instead of messing around with other people's webcams and/or changing the wallpaper of your nemesis' computer.

author
javajunkie1976 made it!(author)2011-07-06

Remember the days when hacking something, meant taking an axe or a pick and trying to get something off the ground?

author
golden+snake made it!(author)2008-09-03

yes but some people think HACKING is funner lol

author
zack247 made it!(author)2010-03-20

you may have just given me an idea that has to do with my enemies computer and the fact that he blurted out it has no antivirus. if i only knew how to hack...

author
dragonsniper made it!(author)2011-02-16

lol

author
CaseBoy made it!(author)2009-10-27

 can you post a vid??

author
yanyan made it!(author)2007-07-15

I couldn't find styrofoam cups so i tried it with paper cups instead and it flew like a ...cow. Is this because of the smootheness of the paper cups, the weight, or my own shoddy technique?

author
Hoopajoo made it!(author)2007-07-15

I think it is a combination of weight and texture. I tried it once with plastic cups and it flew like a lead blimp.

author
rollingstoner357 made it!(author)2008-01-29

Hey! Mythbusters just proved that a lead baloon can fly

author
knex_mepalm made it!(author)2009-10-08

How thin was the lead? 1 nm?

author
dombeef made it!(author)2008-12-23

Yeah!OWNED!!!

author
knex_mepalm made it!(author)2009-09-21

Totally Wrong Man

It matters little for in a world of which we live in , because we have evolved into such a time where we may be allowed not to type proffesionally, as we may spell as we wish yet some belive we should just type better, others can not understand you so they ask of you to type and spell better. Other wordzspeakin you dont have to lolz..
bold is wrong

author
AznPanda made it!(author)2009-10-07

elloo uh sad thing is i dont even remember typing that comment lulz
uhh seems like i angered you D: sorries

author
knex_mepalm made it!(author)2009-10-08

Not relly. Sorries :'(

author
AznPanda made it!(author)2009-10-07

oh yah ima delete the comment that i made before seems rather mean of me D: sooo *Deletes* :D

author
gotanysparecake made it!(author)2009-09-29

LOLOLOL totally right, man.

author
knex_mepalm made it!(author)2009-09-30

Yippie!

author
ad410800 made it!(author)2006-11-25

this thing suks! it is mor like a toy for a 2 year old,

author
disco+diva made it!(author)2006-12-13

you spell like my 2 year old

author
dombeef made it!(author)2008-12-23

lol yeah

author
toollvr made it!(author)2007-03-15

All this negativity is making my nuts hurt.

author
paper+warrior made it!(author)2006-11-30

2yr. olds are small children, idiot.

author
bestbballrebounder1 made it!(author)2008-10-07

(removed by community by request)

author
golden+snake made it!(author)2008-09-03

eww this is the INTERNETZ why does it matter how you spell

author
jasonckoval made it!(author)2008-06-02

Folks, this is a nice project designed to keep little kids busy at *something* that they might get a kick out of. I cannot understand why so many of you feel the need to bash stuff like this. Hoopajo, thanks for contributing this, I will use it with my little ones. It is a clever demonstration of the concept of "circulation" and its relation to aerodynamic lift. Look up "Flettner Rotor" if you are really interested.

author
matt7230 made it!(author)2008-04-15

how do you *launch* this!!!

author
matt7230 made it!(author)2008-04-15

How do you lunch this!!!

author
Jack+Daniels made it!(author)2006-10-19

3am last night this was the most entertaining thing at my work lol

author
instructa-fan made it!(author)2007-03-18

3am...night...am=morning...night=pm...am+night=does not compute

author
altmaker made it!(author)2008-03-24

oh cmonn we know what he means, be nice :P

author
instructa-fan made it!(author)2008-03-24

no, he could mean 3am this morning, or 3pm last night. I wanna know which. well then again, why would you be at work at 3 o' clock in the morning? O_o

author
altmaker made it!(author)2008-04-08

Actually, working in a club, yes, i would be working until 3am :|

author
Jack+Daniels made it!(author)2008-03-25

i ment 3am in the morning sheesh....

About This Instructable

89,402views

234favorites

License:

Bio: USAF - Spec. Communications, Telemetry & Data Networking, Microwave Networks, Aeronautics Interests: Metal working, Electronics and Botany (especially wild edible plants, "Feed the world with weeds") More »
More by Hoopajoo:Geek Chic: Hard Drive Wind ChimesDIY Homebrew SteadyCamEmergency Signal-Boosting Cellphone Antenna
Add instructable to: